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IAEE Recap: 2014 Annual Meeting & Expo! Expo! Breaks Attendance & Sales Records


Los Angeles – For the first time in its history, the International Association of Exhibitions & Events Annual Meeting & Expo! Expo! attracted more than 1,000 show organizers and sold more than $1 million in exhibit space in 2014. In total, the event, which was held December 9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), drew more than 2,100 show organizers and industry suppliers.

“While audited numbers won’t be available until February, we are extremely pleased with the initial numbers on site,” said David DuBois, president, IAEE. “I feel really good about all the great things that our team heard on site. Once we get the results from the exhibitor and attendee surveys after the meeting, we will focus on what we can improve for 2015.”

IAEE returned to Los Angeles for the first time since 1996. Since then, downtown L.A. has seen tremendous growth with the opening of L.A. Live, the Staples Center, Nokia Theater, the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott – all within walking distance of the LACC. In addition, there are a number of new developments underway, including the $7 billion renovation at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

“There are 50,000 hotel rooms within 12 miles of the convention center today, and we are building more, thanks to you,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who welcomed attendees at the Expo! Expo! Opening General Session on Tuesday, December 9. “Ten new hotels opened with 2,135 rooms this year, and 5,000 more rooms will open by 2017.” He officially proclaimed the week of December 8, 2014 as Exhibitions & Events Week in the city.

Also during the Opening General Session, IAEE signed agreements with AFIDA, the Latin America Trade Shows Association; SCEIA, the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Industry Association;  and IEIA, the Indian Exhibition Industry Association. The agreements will extend benefits in education, research, stats and general exposure for members of each respective organization.

The 2014 IAEE Chairperson Skip Cox, president, Exhibit Surveys, Inc., talked about some of the association’s accomplishments during his tenure. One of the highlights of 2014 was the first-ever Exhibitions Day, which was held in June in Washington, DC. “More than 100 exhibition industry professionals participated and engaged with legislators to inform them on the value of face-to-face events,” said Cox. “This year alone, spending by exhibitors and attendees on exhibitions contributed $69 billion to the U.S. GDP. That’s not chump change.” In 2015, Exhibitions Day will be held on June 9.

Robert Safian, editor and managing director, Fast Company, discussed how some of the world’s most innovative companies are thriving amid chaos. Members of Generation Flux, a group of leaders defined not by chronological age but by a mindset, are accelerating the pace of change in culture and business.

“The old rules of business don’t apply,” said Safian. “Chaos theory is a lot like weather forecasting. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s not. It’s about knowing when things are chaotic and when they’re not, and then acting accordingly.” Surviving and thriving is about how you deal with chaos and your ability to add new skills.  “If you keep throwing things in your backpack, eventually you will have an entire tool kit,” he said.

Expo! Expo! was again held over two days but with a slight change in the timing. The show, which featured 265 exhibitors covering 39,000 nsf, was open 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9, and 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 10.  “It was not the largest expo we’ve ever had, but we generated more revenue from booth sales than ever before,” said DuBois.

At the IAEE Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation on Thursday, December 11, The Expo Group was named the winner of #BoothLove, a social media program created by IAEE and BizBash to showcase the best booths from around the world. The Expo Group was recognized for its booth at the 2013 Expo! Expo! in Houston.

Following the awards presentation (for a complete list of 2014 IAEE Award Winners, see sidebar), Cox officially passed the gavel to the 2015 IAEE Chairperson Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions & events, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Tanel discussed some of the issues she plans to address as chairperson.

“IAEE has two very clear strategic initiatives – education and advocacy,” said Tanel. “Most of us, including myself, ended up in the industry by a fluke. One of our goals is to create an industry of choice for exposition management. Through education, we will ensure that the next generation has the same passion for the industry as this generation.”

Following Tanel, Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, who was named 2014 Major League Baseball American League Manager of the Year, was the guest speaker. He talked about his passion for Baltimore and all that the city has to offer, from the National Aquarium and Little Italy to Camden Yards and new Horseshoe Casino Baltimore next door. “It’s the best ballpark in baseball,” he said. “For some players, it’s all about the money. For us, we get players because of what the city has to offer.”

The 2015 Annual Meeting and Expo! Expo! will be held December 8-10 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Sidebar: 2015 IAEE Board of Directors

At the annual meeting, IAEE announced its 2015 Board of Directors. Members of IAEE’s Board of Directors are elected on an annual basis by the official voting member of each IAEE member company. All officers serve a term of one year, except the secretary/treasurer who holds office for two years. The directors are divided into three classes, as nearly equal in number as possible, each to serve three years in staggered terms to ensure continuity in the governance of the association.


  • Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions & events, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)


Immediate Past Chairperson

  • Skip Cox, president, Exhibit Surveys, Inc.



  • Julia Smith, CEM, CTA, senior vice president of national sales, Global Experience Specialists (GES)



  • Daniel McKinnon, CEM, vice president, client services – global, FreemanXP


Continuing Directors

  • Vicki Bedi, director, PSBedi & Co Pvt Ltd
  • Thomas Cindric, Jr., CEM, vice president, Hanley Wood Exhibitions
  • Christopher McCabe, executive vice president, Emerald Expositions
  • Martin Moggre, CEM, executive vice president & chief sales officer, expositions, Freeman
  • Manolita Moore, owner/managing director, Las Vegas Show Management, LLC
  • Susan Schwartz, CEM, managing director, ConvExx
  • Ryan Strowger, CEM, vice president of exhibitions, conferences and sales, International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA)


New Directors

  • Bob McClean Jr., executive vice president, Promotional Products Association International
  • Bob Morgan, general manager, Dulles Expo Center
  • Steve Sind, president & CEO, Global Event Strategies, LLC


Ex-Officio Directors

  • Walter Yeh, executive vice president, TAITRA – Taiwan External Trade Development Council representing the IAEE Asia Exhibition Council
  • Britton Jones, president & CEO, Business Journals, Inc. representing the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
  • Greg McCormack, CEM, director of national sales, T3 Expo, representing the Robert L. Krakoff seat


Sidebar: 2014 IAEE Individual Award Winners

The recipients were honored at the IAEE Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation, which was held Thursday, December 11, at the LACC. For more details about the award submission and selection process, go to

Pinnacle Award

  • Vinnie Polito, principal at Marketing Design Group  and managing director of VP International


International Excellence Award

  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
  • Cherif Moujabber, president, Creative Expos & Conferences, Inc.

Merit Award

  • Tesa Harding, CEM, exhibits manager, Texas Music Educators Association
  • Carolyn Hilderbrand, national sales manager, AVTS
  • Tom Malek, CEM, national sales manager, Global Experience Specialists (GES)
  • Jennifer Kimball, senior vice president, operations, OnPeak | GES


Educator of the Year Award

  • Bob Kelley, CEM, CMM
  • Curtis Love, Ph.D., professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award

  • Johanne Belanger, president, Freeman Audio Visual | Canada


Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award

  • Amandeep Sandhu, vice president of customer insights, UBM Tech


Young Professional of the Year Award

  • Jennifer Paine Pekowski, CEM, business development director, Freeman
  • Barbara Myers, CAE, vice president of association services, IMN Solutions


Rookie of the Year Award

  • Sarah Soliman, producer/talent, Convention News Television (CNTV)